A new concept based on analysis of dive depth data was developed to help estimate prey consumption in ten free-ranging Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus) that were brooding chicks. By simultaneously analysing the undulations in the dive depth profile (measured by time-depth recorders, TDRs) and beak opening (obtained from the recently developed intra-mandibular angle sensors, IMASEN), it was possible to determine the proportions of the undulations in the dive profile that resulted (or not) in prey capture. This methodology allowed the number of prey consumed to be estimated with a mean error of 10±6% using TDR data alone. If the mean mass of prey is known, then the overall mass of prey consumed per unit time can be determined. Additionally, the method allows estimation of the depth at which prey is taken and thus indicates how penguins exploit the water column. Due to its simplicity, the proposed methodology has applications for other Spheniscus penguin species and should be considered for other marine endotherm divers that show undulations in the dive depth profile.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Aquatic Science